”Memento mori”. It is a Latin exhortation that means “think of death” or “don’t forget that you are going to die”.
Although it has been interpreted in all kinds of ways depending on the times, it has given many suggestions to us humans. This message has been expressed not only in text but also sometimes in the world of art, such as paintings.
The dominant motif in these paintings is the skull, which directly evokes death. Still life paintings, which had a lower status than religious or historical paintings, were elevated in status by incorporating the essence of Christianity into them. This is the so-called “Vanitas”. Several hundred years later, Damien Hirst’s sculpture For the Love of God, which is now the most expensive single work by an artist in existence, also features Memento Mori as its subject matter. The skull was also chosen for this work.
Now, does the best motif to remind us of death give new suggestions to people today who have forgotten “Memento Mori”? In this article, I would like to introduce a few artists who deal with skulls.